Supreme Court ban on firecrackers goes up in smoke

Delhi air pollution

Delhi gasps for breath after Diwali firework frenzy

The Delhi Traffic Police said heavy and medium goods vehicles, except those carrying essential goods, will not be allowed to enter Delhi from 11 pm on November 8.

Authorities in the previous years have rationed private auto use and imposed shutdowns on industrial units and coal-run power plants, as well as taxes on lorries to discourage them from using Delhi as a transit route.

This year, Diwali day shows that the PM10 and PM2.5 values have increased in Delhi compared to 2017.

Pollution in the Indian capital, New Delhi, rose to a "severe" level on Thursday after revellers let off fireworks long into the night to mark the Hindu festival of Diwali. Readings above 500 in the index, which measures poisonous gases and toxic particulate matter in the air, are typically associated with serious aggravation of the heart and lungs.

"The Supreme Court order on fireworks was not followed and health warnings from the government were limited to few newspapers and some websites", said Greenpeace campaigner Sunil Dahiya. More than 250 cases of burn injuries were reported in the national capital this Diwali. However, reports have claimed that Delhi is not the most polluted city in the country.

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According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) data, an AQI of "severe plus emergency" means that even healthy people may suffer respiratory illness on prolonged exposure. Loud bangs rent the air in New Delhi. Early morning at 1 am, smoke layer became thick and started to trap pollutants near the surface rapidly. The AQI rose from 281 at 7 pm to 291 an hour later and by 10 pm, it was 296, said the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The overall AQI of the city was 11 times the permissible limit. This air will seriously affect those with ailments, according to the advisory issued by SAFAR.

The Supreme Court had allowed bursting of firecrackers from 8 pm to 10 pm only on Diwali and other festivals.

On Wednesday night Delhites largely defied a court order and set off an enormous barrage of smoke-spewing firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali, sending pollution levels soaring.

The areas where the violations were recorded included Mayur Vihar Extension, Lajpat Nagar, Lutyens' Delhi, IP extension, Dwarka and Noida Sector 78.

Admitting that violations were observed, police said it was manually not possible to monitor every incident considering the population of the city and a complete ban on firecrackers can't be imposed till the entire community is willing to join hands.

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